The Politics of Christmas in the Age of Trump

Will-OBrien-150x150.jpgBy Will O’Brien

For several years, the Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia has offered an annual Advent program called “Peace on Earth and The Politics of Christmas” Alternative Seminary coordinator and frequent contributor to the Radical Discipleship blog Will O’Brien leads the discussion on how we reclaim the domesticated biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth with their powerful message of challenge to worldly powers.  Folks in the Philadelphia area are encouraged to join this year’s program on Saturday, December 7. You can also spread the word via the Facebook page.

Can we liberate Christmas from its cultural captivity and rediscover the truly prophetic story that speaks to the crises of our world today? Continue reading

Reading the Bible as a Trans-Affirming Ally

indexBy Mx Chris Paige

Reading the Bible while transgender involves sorting through many distortions and biased assumptions that have been passed along, both through tradion and translation. Often critics are so confident in their bias that they aren’t even looking at the text. My book, OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation, has only been out for a few months, so I am only beginning to encounter trolls, but I have already seen “conversations” devolve into “because I said so” non-arguments. Looking past the strident (and often ignorant) opposition is the first barrier to reading the Bible as a transgender-affirming ally. Continue reading

Transgender Liberation Invitation

indexThe Alternative Seminary, Transfaith,
and Germantown Mennonite Church
 Invite You to

 Transgender Liberation:
Intersectional Identities, Alternate Genders, and the Biblical Testimony of Eunuchs

 Saturday, November 2
10:00 am – 12:00 noon

 Germantown Mennonite Church
21 W. Washington Lane, Philadelphia

Mx Chris Paige (formerly publisher of The Other Side magazine) will present from their new book, OtherWise Christian: A Guidebook for Transgender Liberation. Drawing on 25 years of transgender-affirming scholarship, Chris will invite us to expand our understanding of the 50 explicit uses of the word “eunuch” in the Christian Bible (many of which are obscured in translation), as well as other likely or perhaps eunuchs such as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In doing so, we will challenge one another to live more deeply into resistance from colonized gender ideology, white supremacy, and Christian empire. Continue reading

The Cross: A Call to Gospel Nonviolence

crucifixion_edilberto-meridaEast Coast Friends!! An announcement from The Alternative Seminary in Philly!

THE CROSS OF CHRIST: A JUSTIFICATION FOR REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE OR A
CALL TO GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE?

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive … I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to follow him to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice.” ― James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Continue reading

The Politics of Christmas

From our comrades at the Alternative Seminary in Philly…just in time for Advent:Adbusters

In an age of Trumpism, can we liberate Christmas from its cultural captivity and rediscover the truly prophetic story that speaks to the crises of our world today?

Peace on Earth and the Politics of Christmas

Saturday morning, December 8
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue

Much of the Christian church in the United States has been co-opted by an American gospel of prosperity, racism, violence, and militant nationalism. The celebration of Christmas is a victim of that co-optation: It is often wrapped in innocent, feel-good, Hallmark-card imagery. But in fact the biblical texts describing the coming of Jesus are making powerful assertions about the politics of the Bible that speak very much to our contemporary global crises. We will reflect on the “nativity narratives” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to see how they express core biblical themes of justice and liberation. We will try to “un-domesticate” these tales of liberation and reflect on how they are truly challenging us in terms of our allegiance and our discipleship. A perfect event for Advent. A light breakfast will be served. A $5 donation is requested to cover costs.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Will O’Brien at (215) 842-1790 or wobrien@alternativeseminary.net by December 5.

The Alternative Seminary is a program of biblical and theological study and reflection designed to foster an authentic biblical witness in the modern world. For more information, see http://www.alternativeseminary.net.

Understanding & Responding to the Doctrine of Discovery

DoDBy Will O’Brien, executive director of Project H.O.M.E. in Philly and the curator of the Alternative Seminary

*This Saturday, September 29, the Alternative Seminary and a group of Mennonite pastors are hosting a gathering in Philadelphia to deepen understanding and discern a call to respond to the Doctrine of Discovery

Of the many crimes perpetrated through history in the name of an imperialized Christ, one of the most pernicious is also one of least known.

The “Doctrine of Discovery” is a philosophical and legal framework dating to the 15th century that gave “Christian” governments in Europe the moral and legal rights to invade and seize indigenous lands and dominate indigenous peoples. For more than five centuries, this doctrine and the laws based upon it have legalized the theft of land, labor, and resources from across the world – crimes that continue to this day. Continue reading

Is Small Always Beautiful?

indexBy Will O’Brien

A few years ago I was visiting good friends at an intentional Christian community in a large city.  This was a community I dearly loved: For many years, persons from privileged backgrounds, following Jesus’ call, had served, lived with, and developed ministries with the folks who lived on the streets of that city.  They engaged in powerful and creative prophetic witness to the compassion and justice of God, insisting on a commitment to struggle with society’s most marginalized persons.  These good saints had taught me, inspired me, challenged me, and emboldened my faith in countless ways. Continue reading